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Issues That Arise During Deployment
This section updated Thursday, July 5, 2007 ~ 17:03 CST
Issues Overview | Absentee Voting | Suspending Services | Deployed Marine Locator
Family Emergencies | Filing Taxes | Legal Issues | Military Pay | Notifying Next of Kin | Security and OPSEC
Soldiers and Sailors Act | Sole Surviving Son | Paying Bills | Power of Attorney | Writing a Will
RETURN TO MAIN DEPLOYMENT SECTION
Deployed Marines Filing Taxes
 
Your deployed Marine has 180 days (approximately 6 months) after returning stateside to complete his/her tax return. He/she will not pay a penalty if additional taxes are due as long as they file within 180 days.
 
Your Marine is also entitled to the "Combat Pay Exemption" which states that he/she will not pay taxes on income earned while deployed to a combat zone. Afghanistan and Iraq (including Kuwait or any other country if it is in direct support of operations OIF and OEF) are considered combat zone.
 
Your Marine will be given an opportunity to have a military accountant on a military installation assist with taxes upon return stateside. In most instances there is no charge for this service.
  
New For Tax Year 2005
   
Death Benefits
For deaths occurring after September 10, 2001, the new law doubles the benefit paid to survivors of deceased Armed Forces members from $6,000 to $12,000 and makes that entire amount tax-free. Previously, only $3,000 was tax-free and the remaining $3,000 was taxable.

Recipients who have already paid tax on benefits received for deaths after September 10, 2001, may file an amended return on IRS Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. On the return, they should reduce their adjusted gross income by the $3,000 they had previously reported as taxable on a federal income tax return and put the words “Military Family Tax Relief Act” in red at the top of the amended return to speed processing. Those who receive death benefits in 2003 and future years will not have to report them on their tax returns.

Home Sales
For homes sold after May 6, 1997, a taxpayer on qualified official extended duty in the U.S. Armed, Uniformed or Foreign Services may suspend, for up to 10 years of such duty time, the running of the 5-year ownership-and-use period before the sale of a residence. This applies when the duty station is at least 50 miles from the residence — or while the person is residing under orders in government housing — for a period of more than 90 days or for an indefinite period. This election, which is an option for the taxpayer, applies to only one property at a time.

Although taxpayers normally have only three years to file an amended return, qualifying taxpayers who sold a residence before 2001 have until November 10, 2004, to amend their returns for this purpose. Taxpayers amending a return to use this provision should put “Military Family Tax Relief Act” in red in the top margin of Form 1040X.

Deduction for Overnight Travel Expenses of National Guard and Reserve Members
For tax years after 2002, reservists who stay overnight more than 100 miles away from home while in service (e.g., for a drill or meeting) may deduct unreimbursed travel expenses (transportation, meals and lodging) as an above-the-line deduction. The deduction is limited to the rates for such expenses authorized for federal employees, including per diem in lieu of subsistence.

For 2003, taxpayers will use Form 2106, Employee Business Expenses, or 2106-EZ, Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses, to figure the deduction amount and carry it as a “write-in” to Form 1040, line 33, putting the letters “RC” and the amount on the dotted line and including this subtraction in the entry for line 33.

Combat Zone Extensions Expanded to Contingency Operations
The various extensions granted to combat zone participants to file returns or pay taxes will also apply to those serving in Contingency Operations, as designated by the Secretary of Defense. This is effective for any acts whose deadline has not expired before November 11, 2003.

Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program
Payments made after November 11, 2003, under this program to offset the adverse effects on housing values of military base realignments or closures will be excludable from income as a fringe benefit.

Dependent Care Assistance Program
For tax years after 2002, dependent care assistance programs for military personnel are excludable from income.

Military Academy Attendees
For tax years after 2002, the ten percent tax on payments from a Qualified Tuition Program or Coverdell Education Savings Account that are not used for educational expenses does not apply to attendees of the U.S. Military, Naval, Air Force, Coast Guard or Merchant Marine Academies, to the extent the payments do not exceed the costs of advanced education.

Additional Information
If a taxpayer no longer has copies of his or her previous tax returns, the taxpayer may use Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to order an earlier year’s tax return, or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. The IRS charges $39 for each return requested, but charges nothing for a transcript. IRS forms are available on this Web site or by calling toll-free 1-800-TAX–FORM (1-800-829-3676). More information on the Military Family Relief Act of 2003 and other tax issues affecting the military can be found in IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide, also available on this site or through 1-800-829-3676.

The tax laws provide some special benefits for active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those serving in combat zones.

For federal tax purposes, the U.S. Armed Forces includes officers and enlisted personnel in all regular and reserve units controlled by the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Coast Guard is also included, but not the U.S. Merchant Marine or the American Red Cross. However, these and other support personnel may qualify for certain tax deadline extensions because of their service in a combat zone.
 
Links and Online Information
 
  • Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide, addresses a wide range of issues that may affect members of the military:
    • Online — browse the publication to find specific information;
    • Portable Document Format (PDF) — download a copy to read later or print select pages;
    • Hardcopy  — order a paper copy by calling 1-800-829-3676. 

Other Items:

All items above may be found from the Internal Revenue Service website at http://www.irs.gov/. This guide is for informational purposes only, MarineParents.com, Inc. recommends you consult a qualified tax professional with any questions or concerns regarding their personal taxes.

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